Conditions right for dangerous algae in Illinois rivers and lakes

State News

FILE – In this June 13, 2012, file photo, Asian carp, jolted by an electric current from a research boat, jump from the Illinois River near Havana, Ill. A newly released study says if Asian carp reach Lake Michigan, they probably would find enough food to spread far and wide. Some experts have questioned whether there’s enough plankton in the lake to sustain the invasive carp away from shoreline areas. But the new report released Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, by University of Michigan scientists says despite a drop-off of plankton caused by exotic mussels, the voracious carp could feed on other organic material when venturing into deeper waters. (AP Photo/John Flesher, File)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD) — Water conditions are becoming ideal for the growth of “blue-green algae,” which has toxic effects.

Cyanobacteria is a microorganism that grows in water when the weather is warm enough. With the summer heat coming in, the Illinois Department of Health and Environmental Protection Agency hopes to warn people against making contact with the algae. 

Children, the elderly, and immunocompromised people are most susceptible to the harmful nature of the algae. The algae is most dangerous when touched directly or ingested.

State officials warn residents to look out for these distinguishing factors of the algae.

  • looks like spilled, green or blue-green paint;
  • has surface scums, mats, or films;
  • has a blue or green crust at the shoreline;
  • is discolored or has green-colored streaks; or
  • has greenish globs suspended in the water below the surface

For more information about cyanobacteria, click here.

If you believe you are experiencing symptoms of exposure to the algae, call the Illinois Poison center at 1-800-222-1222. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Local News

More Local News